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Henderson tenant puzzled by rental assistance refusal by landlord

Posted at 7:17 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 08:51:18-05

HENDERSON, Nev. (KTNV) — Refusing rental assistance. That’s what one tenant is claiming her housing complex is doing while she’s making her best effort at paying rent. It comes as thousands of Nevadans are struggling to pay as they try to avoid being evicted.

It’s been a tough few months for Mackenzy Swanson as she tries to ensure she and her three babies can remain at home in Henderson. The pandemic has made it hard with her getting behind on rent after losing her job.

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“It puts you in a really hard spot and obviously, you don’t want debt to accumulate but it already is,” she said.

She sent her complex, Townhomes at Horizon Ridge, the CDC declaration form to ensure she wouldn’t be evicted and paid her rent in full with late fees after getting eviction notices. She applied for housing assistance from Clark County and was making progress before the complex said it wouldn’t accept it due to stipulations.

“The programs take too long to pay them, so they don’t want to wait that long,” she said.

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Jim Berchtold, an attorney with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, says he doesn’t understand why a landlord wouldn’t accept the money. He does say if a tenant gets a seven-day notice and gets the assistance within that time, the landlord must take the money. But the rules do change after that.

“After the seven-day notice runs, the landlord is under no obligation to take the money anymore. So, most of the situations we have seen, unfortunately, did not occur during that seven-day period,” he said.

A study from the Aspen Institute shows more than 418,000 Nevadans or nearly 182,000 households at risk of eviction by the end of December. Swanson wants to avoid that but feels stuck after making her best effort.

“It’s really frustrating when there are people willing to help us, but they’re not willing to accept it and we’re doing everything we can on our end.”

We did reach out to the management of this complex, but we didn’t hear back by the deadline. Swanson says she’ll still try to work with the complex—but will fight in court if an eviction hearing goes forward.